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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

All Creatures Great and Small

Streaming on PBS Film & TV

Yorkshire is known for pudding, Brontës, and the occasional serial killer (the Yorkshire Ripper). But the county is also famously the setting of All Creatures Great and Small, the movie and subsequent 1970s BBC television series based on the autobiographical novels by James Alfred Wight, who took his hero’s name, James Herriot, as his pen name. In them, James is a young veterinarian who begins his apprenticeship under a brilliant fussbudget, Siegfried Farnon, in rural Yorkshire in the 1930s. The beloved show, which ran for seven seasons, has a new adaptation that captures the charm of the original in part because it gives the area’s lush fields, narrow roads, and old stone houses an almost magical luster. Downton Abbey romanticized a vanished world of aristocrats and their servants; All Creatures Great and Small burnishes the humor and pathos in the lives of farmers, animals, and the veterinarians who tend to both. —Alessandra Stanley

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